Spain’s new Traffic Law, which came into force on 21 March, contains some changes which drivers should keep in mind. In general, the penalties have been stepped up for certain infringements of the law, such as using a mobile phone while driving or throwing something out of the window of a vehicle. Either of these offences will result in a fine of 500 euros and the loss of six points from the driver’s licence. Before the new law came into force, four points would have been removed from the licence for these infringements.
The penalties are now harsher because the Traffic authorities consider these to be very serious offences. For example, throwing a cigarette end from a car window could cause a fire, especially in summer. Three per cent of forest fires are started in this way, and it is high risk, especially at this time of year.
When it comes to the use of a mobile phone while driving, a fine can be imposed for just holding the device, even if it is not being used. Under the new Traffic Law the wording has been changed, so holding a phone will result in the loss of six points from the driving licence, and it incurs a fine of 500 euros.
It may seem hard to believe, as seat belts have been compulsory for so many years in Spain, but one in every four people who are killed in traffic accidents were not wearing one. Under the new law, four licence points will be lost for failure to wear one or to wear it properly. The same penalty applies to those who carry children as passengers without putting them in child seats, and motorcyclists who do not wear a crash helmet.
Carrying radar detection or similar devices in a vehicle will also incur a 500-euro fine and the loss of three licence points, even if they are not being used.
The summer season is coming up, the roads are busier than ever and the number of controls will be increased. The message from the authorities is clear: it's better to be safe than sorry.